Command Authority, p.1Tom Clancy
ALSO BY TOM CLANCY
The Hunt for Red October
Red Storm Rising
The Cardinal of the Kremlin
Clear and Present Danger
The Sum of All Fears
Debt of Honor
The Bear and the Dragon
The Teeth of the Tiger
Dead or Alive
Against All Enemies
Submarine: A Guided Tour Inside a Nuclear Warship
Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment
Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing
Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit
Airborne: A Guided Tour of an Airborne Task Force
Carrier: A Guided Tour of an Aircraft Carrier
Into the Storm: A Study in Command
with General Fred Franks, Jr. (Ret.), and Tony Koltz
Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign
with General Chuck Horner (Ret.) and Tony Koltz
Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces
with General Carl Stiner (Ret.) and Tony Koltz
with General Tony Zinni (Ret.) and Tony Koltz
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INTERIOR MAPS © 2013 BY JEFFREY L. WARD
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Also by Tom Clancy
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
John Patrick “Jack” Ryan: President of the United States
Dan Murray: attorney general of the United States
Arnold Van Damm: President’s chief of staff
Robert Burgess: secretary of defense
Scott Adler: secretary of state
Mary Patricia Foley: director of the Office of National Intelligence
Jay Canfield: director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Admiral James Greer: director of intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency
Judge Arthur Moore: director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Keith Bixby: chief of station, Kiev, Ukraine, Central Intelligence Agency
THE U.S. ARMED FORCES
Admiral Mark Jorgensen: chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Eric Conway: Chief Warrant Officer Two, United States Army, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior pilot
Andre “Dre” Page: Chief Warrant Officer Two, United States Army, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior copilot
Barry “Midas” Jankowski: lieutenant colonel, United States Army, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta
Harris “Grungy” Cole: captain, United States Air Force, F-16 pilot
THE CAMPUS / HENDLEY ASSOCIATES
Gerry Hendley: director of The Campus / Hendley Associates
John Clark: director of operations
Domingo “Ding” Chavez: operations officer
Sam Driscoll: operations officer
Dominic “Dom” Caruso: operations officer
Jack Ryan, Jr.: operations officer / intelligence analyst
Gavin Biery: director of information technology
Adara Sherman: director of transportation
Sir Basil Charleston: director general of Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)
Anthony Haldane: international financier, ex–Foreign Office
Victor Oxley aka Bedrock: 22nd Special Air Service Regiment—Officer, British Security Service (MI5)
David Penright: officer, SIS (MI6)
Nicholas Eastling: SIS officer, Counterintelligence Section
Hugh Castor: managing director, Castor and Boyle Risk Analytics Ltd
Sandy Lamont: senior business analyst, Castor and Boyle Risk Analytics Ltd
THE RUSSIANS / THE UKRAINIANS
Valeri Volodin: president of the Russian Federation
Roman Talanov: director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation
Stanislav Biryukov: d
Sergey Golovko: ex-director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of the Russian Federation
Oksana Zueva: leader of the Ukrainian Regional Unity Party
Tatiana Molchanova: television newscaster, Novaya Rossiya (New Russia)
Dmitri Nesterov, aka Gleb the Scar: vory v zakonye (“thief-in-law”), operative of the Seven Strong Men criminal organization
Pavel Lechkov: Seven Strong Men operative
Caroline “Cathy” Ryan: First Lady of the United States
Edward Foley: husband of Mary Pat Foley, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Dino Kadic: Croatian assassin
Felicia Rodríguez: Venezuelan university student
Marta Scheuring: “urban guerrilla” of the Red Army Faction
Malcolm Galbraith: owner of Galbraith Rossiya Energy Holdings, Scottish entrepreneur
The flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics flew high above the Kremlin in a rain shower, a red-and-gold banner waving under a gray sky. The young captain took in the imagery from the backseat of the taxi as it rolled through Red Square.
The sight of the flag over the seat of power of the largest country in the world jolted the captain with pride, although Moscow would never feel like home to him. He was Russian, but he’d spent the past several years fighting in Afghanistan, and the only Soviet flags he’d seen there had been on the uniforms of the men around him.
His taxi let him out just two blocks from the square, on the north side of the massive GUM department store. He double-checked the address on the drab office building in front of him, paid his fare, and then stepped out into the afternoon rain.
The building’s lobby was small and plain; a lone security man eyed him as he tucked his hat under his arm and climbed a narrow staircase that led to an unmarked door on the first floor.
Here the captain paused, brushed wrinkles out of his uniform, and ran his hand over his rows of medals to make certain they were perfectly straight.
Only when he was ready did he knock on the door.
“Vkhodi!” Come in!
The young captain entered the small office and shut the door behind him. With his hat in his hand, he stepped in front of the one desk in the room, and he snapped to attention.
“Captain Roman Romanovich Talanov, reporting as ordered.”
The man behind the desk looked like he was still in his twenties, which greatly surprised Captain Talanov. He was here to meet a senior officer in the KGB, and he certainly did not expect someone his own age. The man wore a suit and tie, he was small and thin and not particularly fit, and he looked, to the Russian soldier, like he had never spent a day of his life in military service.
Talanov showed no hint of it, of course, but he was disappointed. For him, like every military man, officers in the KGB were divided into two classes. Sapogi and pidzhaki. Jackboots and jackets. This young man before him might have been a high-ranking state security official, but to the soldier, he was just a civilian. A jacket.
The man stood, walked around the desk, and then sat down on its edge. His slight slouch contrasted with the ramrod-straight posture of the officer standing in front of him.
The KGB man did not give his name. He said, “You just returned from Afghanistan.”
“I won’t ask you how it was, because I would not understand, and that would probably just piss you off.”
The captain stood still as stone.
The jacket said, “You are GRU Spetsnaz. Special Forces. You’ve been operating behind the lines in Afghanistan. Even over the border in Pakistan.”
It was not a question, so the captain did not reply.
With a smile, the man slouched on the desk said, “Even as a member of the most elite special operations unit in military intelligence, you stand out above the rest. Intelligence, resilience, initiative.” He winked at Talanov. “Loyalty.”
Talanov’s blue eyes were locked on a point on the wall behind the desk, so he missed the wink. With a powerful voice, he replied with a well-practiced mantra: “I serve the Soviet Union.”
The jacket half rolled his eyes, but again Talanov missed it. “Relax, Captain. Look at me, not the wall. I am not your commanding officer. I am just a comrade who wishes to have a conversation with another comrade, not a fucking robot.”
Talanov did not relax, but his eyes did shift to the KGB man.
“You were born in Ukraine. In Kherson, to Russian parents.”
“I am from Saint Petersburg myself, but I spent my summers with my grandmother in Odessa, not far from where you grew up.”
The jacket blew out a sigh, frustrated at the continued formality of the Spetsnaz man. He asked, “Are you proud of those medals on your chest?”
Talanov’s face gave away his first emotion now. It was indecision. “I . . . they are . . . I serve the—”
“You serve the Soviet Union. Da, Captain, duly noted. But what if I told you I wanted you to take off those medals and never put them back on?”
“I do not understand, comrade.”
“We have followed your career, especially the operations you have conducted behind the lines. And we have researched every aspect of your private life, what little there is of it. From this we have come to the conclusion that you are less interested in the good of the Communist Party, and more interested in the work itself. You, dear Captain, have a slavish desire to excel. But we do not detect in you any particular passion for the joys of the collective or any unique wonderment at the command economy.”
Talanov remained silent. Was this a test of his loyalty to the party?
The jacket continued. “Chairman Chernenko will be dead in months. Perhaps weeks.”
Captain Talanov blinked. What madness is this talk? If someone said such a thing in front of a KGB man on base back in Afghanistan, they would be shuffled away, never to be seen again.
The jacket said, “It’s true. They hide him from the public because he’s in a wheelchair, and he spends most of the time up in Kuntsevo at the Kremlin Clinic. Heart, lungs, liver: Nothing on that old bastard is working anymore. Gorbachev will succeed him as general secretary—surely you’ve heard he’s next in line. Even out in some cave in Afghanistan, that must be common knowledge by now.”
The young officer gave up nothing.
“You are wondering how I know this?”
Slowly, Talanov said, “Da, comrade. I am wondering that.”
“I know this because I have been told by people who are worried. Worried about the future, worried about where Gorbachev will take the Union. Worried about where Reagan is taking the West. Worried everything might come crashing down on top of us.”
There were a few seconds of complete silence in the room, and then the KGB suit said, “Seems impossible, I know. But I am assured there is reason for concern.”
Talanov couldn’t take it anymore. He needed to know what was going on. “I was ordered to come here today by General Zolotov. He told me I was being considered for recruitment into a special project for the KGB.”
“Misha Zolotov knew what he was doing when he sent you to me.”
“You do work for the KGB, yes?”
“I do, indeed. But more specifically, I work for a group of survivors. Men in KGB and GRU, men who know that the continued existence of our organizations is the survival of the nation, the survival of the people. The Kremlin does not run this nation. A certain building in Dzerzhinsky Square runs this nation.”
“The KGB building?”
“Da. And I have been tasked with protecting this building, not the Communist Party.”
“And General Zolotov?”
The jacket smiled. “Is in the club. As I said, a few in GRU are on board.”
The man in the suit came very close
Talanov turned to face him and squared his shoulders. “Every word you’ve said here, comrade, is treasonous.”
“That is true, but as there are no recording devices in this room, it would take you to stand up as a witness against me. That would not be wise, Captain Talanov, as those survivors that I mentioned are at the very top, and they would protect me. What they would do to you, I can only imagine.”
Talanov looked back to the wall. “So . . . I am being asked to join the KGB, but not to do the work of the KGB. I will, instead, do the work of this group of leaders.”
“That’s it, exactly, Roman Romanovich.”
“What will I be doing specifically?”
“The same sort of things you have been doing in Kabul and Peshawar and Kandahar and Islamabad.”
“Yes. You will help ensure the security of the operation, despite what changes the Soviet Union undergoes in the next few years. In return, you will be protected no matter what might happen in the future regarding the Union.”
“I . . . I still do not understand what you think will happen in the future.”
“Are you listening to me? It’s not what I think. How the fuck should I know? It’s like this, Talanov. The USSR is a large boat, you and I are two of the passengers. We are sitting on the deck, thinking everything is just perfect, but then”—the KGB man moved around the room dramatically, as though he was acting out a scene—“wait . . . what’s this? Some of the boat’s best officers are preparing to abandon ship!”
He moved back in front of Talanov. “I might not see the iceberg in our path, but when those in charge are looking for the fucking lifeboat, I’m smart enough to pay attention.
“Now . . . I have been asked to tend to the lifeboat, a great responsibility entrusted to me by the officers.” The jacket grinned. “Will you help me with the lifeboat?”
Captain Talanov was a straightforward man. The metaphors were starting to piss him off. “The lifeboat. What is it?”
The jacket shrugged his narrow shoulders. “It’s money. It’s just fucking money. A series of black funds will be established and maintained around the world. I will do it, and you will help me keep the funds secure from threats both inside and outside the Union. It will be a simple assignment, a few years in duration, I should think, but it will require the best efforts of us both.”
Command Authority by Tom Clancy / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes